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Allison Orr

Student Profile

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Above: Allison Orr hasn't told us why she felt brave enough to pet the lion!

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A (VERY) SMALL START TO THE STORY

Allison Orr has a great story to share. We heard about a trip she took to Africa a few years back, so planned to do a spotlight on the trip. But her actual story starts much earlier—with her birth! Allison was a preemie. (A pregnancy is considered full term at 39 weeks. Allison’s mother Shannon’s water broke at 34 weeks. She was life-flighted to Denver, where they were able to hold off her labor until 36 weeks). Allison's family lived in Casper when she was born and continues to reside there. But with a preemie baby, the family had to make the trek from Casper to Denver frequently, where tiny Allison needed to remain until she developed to a point where the family could take her home.

The family has since started a foundation in Casper—The Orr’s Hope Foundation—for families with preemies, knowing how best to help families that are tasked with the need to travel often to Denver. The Foundation assists families with funds for lodging, food, and gas for travel. What an awesome way to teach one’s children how to live life! – helping others where they most needed help themselves.

Africa Trip

Allison’s mother Shannon happens to be a nurse who works with children—wasn’t that fortunate for Allison?! In 2017 Shannon took Allison with her on a medical aid trip for three weeks to Zimbabwe, Africa. “Zimbabwe is the poorest area in Africa,” says Allison, obviously impacted by that observation. She helped her mother assess babies—weighed them, then also learned to do simple adult assessments, count medications, gave HIV Aids counselling and testing. Her responsibilities were extremely varied, and even included helping deliver 3 babies during her time there.

She also assisted with “home checks”. They found in one home check that a baby was not developing correctly due to starvation of the mother and baby. “We went to do an assessment on the baby," says Allison, "as well as the other kids [seen in the home visit picture in the collage at the end of this article]. We brought food and cooked them dinner and brought suitcases full of clothes that they were able to keep."

Allison also helped make bricks for the Zimbabwe school (we told you her responsibilities were extremely varied!), taught kids reading, worked with their English—and looks like she made some very sweet friends in the process. [See picture middle bottom in collage at the end of the article.]

UW Nursing Capstone Practicum

Allison is a senior nursing student at the University of Wyoming this semester. All seniors are currently in their “Capstone Practicum” course, where they are placed mostly in hospitals around the state for the entire semester, racking up an amazing 540 clinical hours in that capstone course alone. Students work with a nurse on the unit; we call such nurses preceptors. The student basically assumes the role of that particular nurse, overseeing his/her patients. The preceptor is there to watch, support, and teach. 

“My capstone is going great,” says Allison. “I am in the ICU [Intensive Care Unit] at Casper’s Wyoming Medical Center and I’m absolutely loving it. The most exciting thing that has happened to me so far is just getting to be one-on-one with my own patient and really experiencing all the skills I have learned so far. I have felt accomplished and excited for my future in nursing.”

Orr continues, “All the things I have learned [from book learning over the past years] are now coming out to help me in my patient care. Being in the ICU and applying my thinking/skills has taught me more than books ever could as far as critical care. I am applying my knowledge in order to create a better outcome for my patients, learning so much in just a couple of weeks that I can't wait to see what else there is in store!”

Allison hopes to work in a children's hospital after graduation, “but we will see what opportunities come my way!” 

collage showing Allison with African children

 


Story placed: 2/24/2020

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